Stories of life from a remote Aboriginal community that sing with vivid and simple life, truth and power. At the end of 2008, Robbi Neal and her family travelled to the other end of mainland Australia to a remote Aboriginal community. They planned to stay for twelve months. Seven years later, they are still there. This moving collection of linked narratives centring around a remote Indigenous community has been inspired by real people and real events – the stories might read like fiction, but they are based on fact. The events they describe really happened. Each story is true to the person who inspired it and Robbi has been given permission to share these truths by writing them down, both by the person who influenced each story and by the Elders concerned. These stories sing with vivid and simple life, truth and power. These are stories of shame, pain and sorrow, but also joy and love – and they transform our understanding of ‘the Indigenous experience’. The narratives tell familiar stories – of dispossession, destitution, children being taken away, hopelessness and powerlessness – but it tells them in a very different, direct, simple and powerfully moving way. Robbi Neal captures in a unique and compelling way the voices and histories of these people – their warmth, humour, wisdom and often their irrepressible joy. AFTER BEFORE TIME is profoundly fresh, powerful and moving. ‘Reading After Before Time is a total heart experience. Be prepared to experience a whole gamut of feelings, as there is no soft-pedalling here. The characters disclose the depth of their anger, sadness, grief and pain, directly and bluntly. But there is also great love, warmth, and generosity of spirit towards each other and towards those whites who, over the generations, have loved and tried to help them. The book is rich with insights into customs, traditional beliefs, practices and culture; and humorous observations of what the protagonists regard as absurd white behaviour and demands.’ Newtown Review of Books
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